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  • Studio Spoken

Demystifying Process

Name: Scott Malbaurn

Studio Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Practice: Painting

Please give a breif bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

I am from Groton, Connecticut

That is in South Eastern Connecticut, on the water, near Rhode Island, in the county of New London-a great place for music and art.

Like many artists, I got started in art at a very young age; just about as far back as I can remember.

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

The poetics and dynamics found in the mundane.

How do you work physically?

I work flat on a table. I walk around the table cross-hatching out my brush strokes with large paint brushes, working in many layers of paint and constantly sanding and repainting. I also make my own paint, except for the more hazardous materials, such as Cadmium and Cobalt.

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

The more you refine the work, the more you must refine the next painting, and the next, and so on. It takes longer to make each painting. You get addicted to the process and outcome and the work becomes more demanding. I am now attempting to dial it back a bit.

What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?

I work with acrylic on canvas or linen that may be stretched over panel. For myself, it serves hard-edged painting best. There are also many mediums that can be used with acrylic such as high grade silicas and urethanes. I make most of my own paint with these mediums, liquid dispersions and powdered pigments. This allows me to control the paint from start to finish. The viscosity and quality of the paint are both important.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

I believe that the technical aspect has grown. This comes from both the practice of painting and chemistry of materials. There have been many new materials recently introduced to the market that has leant evolution to the work.

Tell us about your creative and conceptual process. Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

Most recently the concepts derived from Department of Transportation road signs and street markings; the chevron in particular. I begin with drawings. I may deconstruct and then reconstruct or just look at things in a linear way, as well as both micro and macro. I will extrapolate forms and place them in different contexts, always looking for a balance between contrived and arbitrary. New ideas begin to emerge and grow from here.

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

Day to day, it is the basics, music and art. But I am most inspired by creative thinkers, conceptual problem solvers and the individual–people who I consider modest geniuses.

Real life situations that inspire you?

Seeing people reach their goals, make discoveries; perceive things in new ways, and creating new boundaries.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

I would like people to take their time when looking at the work. To allow themselves to open up to what they see and feel. I hope that they have a reaction that strikes an accord within them. One piece may be dynamic giving a strong reaction and another may be a subtle gesture towards an idea.

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

There are so many…

The America Abstract Artists exhibition, “ABSTRACTION∞(Abstraction to the Power of Infinity)” curated by Janet Kurnatowski at The Icebox and Grey Area at Crane Arts in Philadelphia.

Don Voisine at McKenzie Fine Art this past summer

The three person exhibition of Douglas Melini, Gary Perterson, and Sarah Walker also at McKenzie Fine Art this past September.

“A Romance of Many Dimensions” curated by Brent Hallard at the Brooklyn Artists Gym

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

Current Adventure: Working as the Acting Assistant Chairperson of Fine Arts at Pratt Institute. Future Plans: Keep making art, develop, grow, and meet more, new and exciting people with interesting ideas.

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

My advice for other artists is to take advantage of, and say yes to, opportunities even if you think that there is nothing to gain from them. Some of my best opportunities derived from the ones I really wanted to say no to.

The best advice I was given is to keep track of your hours in the studio each week. Be sure to be working. An accountant may work 40 hours a week, a lawyer 80, how many hours are you working? Do you think of yourself as a full-time artist?

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